Adam Epstein, president and COO at adMarketplace, defines search as capturing user intent. At the MediaPost Search Insider Summit panel titled New Surface Areas for Search, Locally and Worldwide he said traffic sources also provide user intent at different levels, which makes the need for more sophisticated bidding and data sources critical. What will search look like in the future. Consumer intent matches in premium content.
On a side note, if you're not at SIS, you're missing a lot of great insight and content. I know, I'm bias.